My kids came home from summer camp this weekend.
Sigh for me—my blissfully quiet and semi-clean house will no longer be quiet or even minorly clean; and an even bigger sigh for them—their cheery mountaintop world of happy songs, free swims, and fireside friendships will come to an end. For months and months, my 12-year-old (pictured above, middle) anticipated going to camp this summer. “Mom, you did send in the payment, right? Because camp is my life,” she said in early May, knowing she’d better check up on my accounting.
Now, come tomorrow, her two weeks of archery and rappelling and a canoe trip down the New River will dwindle down to memories and a mound of dirty laundry.
Camp was my life, too, back in the day. It was where I traded in the tar-melting heat of the North Carolina piedmont for the heavenly breezes of the Blue Ridge mountains. Where I rode horses and hopped creeks and counted the sparks that flew up from the Vespers bonfire, wondering if the cathedral of oak trees and pines hovering above us might go up in flame. It’s where I could be me, only better, the me I could pull off for two weeks only, with no history of temper tantrums or fights with my sisters to taint my profile.
The good news is that my campers landed back at home in the midst of a holiday weekend—when home life is more camp-like, more relaxed than usual. I was still in the residual la-la land that comes from spending my days watching the Tour de France and Wimbledon, with some reading and dozing in the mix. And that’s almost busy compared to the week before when my husband and I escaped to the mountains ourselves. Adult camp—a week of bike riding, naps, afternoon IPAs and "House of Cards" episodes.
Here’s to mid-July. To a post-Fourth, post-camp reality of afternoon thunderstorms and mid-morning mind-wandering. I’ll be sweating, for sure, but not the small stuff.
As my friend Nikki Hardin reminded me via the cover of this month’s Skirt!, sometimes wisdom comes when we least expect it, when we are doodling, not doing. And it can come from unexpected sources, even a silly bear, the same one (in stuffed animal form) who used to go with me each year to camp—Winnie the Pooh:
“Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing," Pooh sez..."of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.”